COMANCHE COUNTY, Okla. (TNN) - The Porter Hill Volunteer Fire Department is suspended. It comes after a decision made by board members Tuesday.
Porter Hill Volunteer Firefighters say the feud started when they held a meeting two weeks ago to replace their entire board of directors.
“They are trying to control the department so we decided to hold a community meeting and re-elect a new board," said Jonathon Byrd, former Captain of Porter Hill VFD. "They didn’t like that, so they locked us out of the fire station and we got shut down.”
The chairman of the board, Calvin Nickell didn’t go into detail about the issue, but said in doing that, the firefighters violated an Oklahoma statute.
“The board recognized some problems in regards to title 19.351 - operations outside of that governing law," said Nickell. "The only action we had was to suspend operations.”
As for the area Porter Hill services, those calls will be split between Elgin, Paradise Valley, Edgewater Park, and Wichita Mountains Estates Volunteer Fire Departments.
“They are going to have to step it up for our area," said Byrd. "That means the neighboring fire departments will have to take time out of their personal lives to cover what we’re supposed to be covering.”
Nickell says there will be a delay of about two to three minutes, but before service can start back up the Porter Hill Volunteer Fire Department needs to be operating within the confines of the law.
“We have an obligation to the state," said Nickell. "The law is set forth in item 19.351. You have to follow it. You’ve got to be legal.”
But it’s the people within the district who have a say in the board of directors and the future of the department.
Nickell encourages people to voice their concern at their annual board meeting happening October 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the fire station at Highway 62 and Meers Porter Hill Road.
7News reached out to District 3′s County Commissioner Alvin Cargill.
He said, “The department was probably operating out of that statute and the board did the right thing by placing themselves on suspension until they can bring everything up to compliance.”